Thursday, January 28, 2010

V Sattui - Crow Ridge Zinfandel

Price: $33
Region: Napa, California
Year: 2007
One more entry from my trip to San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. My class ended a bit earlier on Friday than I expected, and my plane wasn't leaving until 7:30 PM, so with a few hours to burn, I could think of nothing better to do than drive 60 miles or so north to grab lunch and a quick little tasting at a great winery. When my wife and I visited Napa back in 2004 for our 10th wedding anniversary, this was definitely one of our top three favorite stops. The great thing about V Sattui, besides the wine, is their small deli "like" shop and picnic area. A wonderful place to grab a nice meal, and sit outside on their beautiful grounds. After buying their special of the day, a homemade meatball sandwich, I went back in for a quick tasting before heading back to the airport. This is going to be less of a review, and more of a recommendation to stop by V Sattui, if you ever have the chance.
There were two different options for their tasting. I took the cheaper one ($5), only because it had a wider variety of options. The more expensive tasting was only $10, and had some higher end wines, but not as many wines to choose from. There were two wines that definitely caught my attention. The first of which I have pictured above, the Crow Ridge Zinfandel. Interesting enough, this wine was not actually on the tasting sheet for this tasting. The Zinfandel I first tasted was call "Bar 49". I wasn't overly impressed with this wine, as it was very mild for a Zin. When the very nice lady behind the bar noticed the look of "ehh, it's OK", on my face, she quickly went and grabbed this Zin and asked me to give it a try. I am very glad she did. This is what I would expect from a solid Zin, and even a little more. It had a very unique, but very nice flavor, and was very smooth. Also, a great aroma that I had to take a second sniff of before taking a sip. As the original intent of this wine blog was to look at wines in the under $15 category, I won't compare a wine that cost twice that, but if you buy wines in this range, this one is a steal. The 2nd wine I really enjoyed was their Napa Valley Cabernet. I actually liked this one so much I bought a bottle to bring home. I'll have the opportunity to review that one some time down the road. I was also going to grab a bottle of the Zinfandel, but I wanted to get a bottle for my wife, and she is not a big fan of Zinfandel. Instead, I bought a bottle of their Petit Sirah, which we'll give a try one of these days as well.
Since V Sattui only sells their wines direct to the consumer, you won't find any of their wines in your local store. For some states however, you can go directly to their website, and they will ship you an order. I made due with a couple bottles to go, and I am looking forward to trying them both out. I would definitely give this particular Zinfandel high marks, probably somewhere in the 4.25 range, but my real recommendation is to give a variety of their wines a try. They definitely do a great job!!
Rating: A Great Winery....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Talley - Pinot Noir

Price: Around $35
Region: California
Year: 2006
Definitely not your typical wine review week for me. I know it has been 2 weeks since my last review, but I have a good excuse. I was on a trip for work, and lucky me, I got to go to San Francisco. Definitely one of the best cities I have ever visited. Not to mention the fact that Napa is only an hour north. Now, being from east coast, I have only visited San Francisco two other times, so it is definitely a treat when I get to go. The other thing that makes this review a little out of the ordinary is that I had this particular wine at a great wine bar, and just jotted down some notes when I got back to my room. So, here goes...
This wine was actually part of a "flight" of three different wines that I tried. I knew without writing down the names of each, I would have a hard time remembering all of them, so I just went with the one that made the biggest impression on me. Amazingly enough, it was a Pinot Noir, and not one of the very good Cabs or Syrahs that I tried. Go figure. I'm 100% I have the winery and grape, but only about 95% sure I have the right year. That being said, I'm pretty sure it was a 2006. When I just looked up the winery online, this picture seemed the most likely, and it appears to go for around $35. A bit more than the wines I usually review, but this was a special occasion for sure.
The thing that caught me by surprise originally was this wine was a bit darker than what I would typically expect from a Pinot Noir. It had a real nice color, and very good clarity. What really stuck out to me, and made this wine memorable for me was the aroma. The word that first comes to mind is smokey, but it was way more complex than just that. It had a nice earthy feel to it, with what I would call a dried fruit smell. Without a doubt, one of the more distinctive smelling wines I've had in a while. So, when it came to tasting this wine, I was so not surprised how smooth, flavorful, and downright good this wine was. I actually saved another wine for last in this flight of three wines, but given to do over, this would have definitely been the clean-up hitter. Next week I'll review one of the wines from one of my favorite wineries in Napa that I had the pleasure of visiting last week.
Rating: 4.5 (A Home Run of a wine)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Price: $18 (3L)
Region: California
Year: 2007
It has been quite a while since my last post. I know it gets crazy around the holidays for everyone, but it just seems that when the routine changes so drastically, this is one of the things that gets missed. That isn't to say I didn't have plenty of good (and some bad) wine over the last three weeks. In fact, I have quite a backlog to choose from. The first wine I plan on reviewing is another selection from Black Box. As you can tell from my top 5 list, the Black Box Merlot is one on the list for its blend of quality, and absolutely great price. I wanted to see if the Cabernet could stand up to its sibling.
I didn't write a whole lot of supporting notes down, so I'm not 100% sure which weekend I bought this wine, but I'm pretty sure it was the week before Christmas. I had a list of a little more expensive wines I wanted to try out for Christmas, so with the equivalent of 4 bottles of win, this one was to hold me over until the holidays started in full force. Not much surprise on the color being it was a Cabernet. For a grape like this, as long as it doesn't look pale when being poured, I'm pretty happy. The interesting thing about the smell was it was a bit more fruity than I expected. Kind of a bit similar to the Merlot if I remember correctly. So, when I took my first sip, I was happy to find it was a nice smooth wine, but it definitely didn't have that nice "chewiness" you get from a good Cabernet. You could tell it was an inexpensive selection, but overall, it was a nice wine. That is especially true again, given the price breaks down to about $5 for a 750 Ml bottle. This was wasn't quite the home run in my book as the Merlot, but a very good everyday wine, and one that last for a good while given a couple of glasses a day.
Rating: 3.5 (A solid drinking wine)